I’ve found myself in a ‘hustle’ stage of life: soaking up every bit of information available to me, doing things that scare me, and doing things that don’t scare me, are insanely dull but still part of the process. I listen to podcasts about business owners and marketers, take in their origin stories and relate them back to myself, setting goals and slowly reaching them or shifting priorities and slowly abandoning them to start something new.
A lot of people are driven this way and work their ass off, but they just aren’t finding the opportunities they seek. I believe it has to do with not marketing yourself and showing others what you’re capable of doing. Whether you’re looking for a new job or just trying to live your best professional life, here are some ways to better position yourself online for new and exciting opportunities.
1. Learn on Your Own
Show initiative and get ahead faster by always seeking information.
Everything I needed to know I learned… online. Well, not everything but I will say that when I committed to completing one Skillshare per week to learn more about marketing and design, I learned more online than in the college courses I was taking at the time. I learned very specific and practical skills that I sought out myself which automatically makes that information sink in easier. Use online resources to learn more about what interests you and make it fun!
Chances are, your employer already offers ongoing learning incentives and if they don’t, ask them. Workshops, conferences, and webinars may not delve into the gritty details that make you a guru, but sometimes just learning something new or dipping your toes in can spark the need for more information and before you know it, you’re the one handing out workbooks.
2. Know Your Role and Strengths
Be able to quickly articulate what you do and what you want to do.
Recently, we recorded some short videos highlighting our services and delved into marketing strategies. Everyone got through their scripts pretty quickly, and some spoke off the cuff (it’s easy when you talk about it all the time, and you’ve studied the material). When we were finished talking on the topic, our video guy, Andy, asked us each to say our names and what we do. I froze. I certainly knew my job title, but my job was more than that, as is the case with most people who have multifaceted roles. I hadn’t thought about a clear, concise explanation of what I do.
It may sound surprising, but we’ve met with clients and asked about their companies, and they stumbled over their words, jumbling up the big picture of what makes their company unique and necessary. What makes you unique and necessary? A great way to practice this is to create a personal brand statement!
3. Write a Personal Brand Statement
You will want to put this on your resume where the old ‘objective’ used to be.
Objective statements are to say what you want and what you are looking for, but it’s outdated. A branding statement summarizes who you are and what you have to offer, which is more likely to keep the reader engaged and want to learn more about you.
Objective Statement vs. Brand Statement
The objective statement below makes this person sound like every other web developer, while the branding statement gets more detailed about their experience and personality. This is an attention grabber and also a great place to start when developing your LinkedIn summary.
“Experienced Web Developer seeking the opportunity to bring knowledge of programming, design, and media to a position with ABC Company.”
“Web Developer with extensive experience in wireframing and coding interactive websites and mobile apps for the startup world with some remote teams, who enjoys the fast-paced environment of the tech industry and being part of pioneering teams.”
4. Beef Up Your Online Image
Take 15 minutes to do a quick social media audit.
We do this for businesses all the time, combing the internet to make sure everything is consistent with their brand and the information is accurate. This is important to do with your personal accounts as well, seeing as how employers are turning down over 50% of applicants based on what they’re finding on social media.
- Google yourself. I did this, and my LinkedIn profile is right at the top. That’s great because I just recently updated it. Below that were my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Try to objectively look at your social media profiles as a visitor would. Or employer, business contact, mentor, grandmother. What does your online presence say about you, and is it consistent with your branding statement? If you’re not crazy about the idea of the free world, including potential employers, seeing these other accounts- consider making them private.
- Delete inactive accounts. You don’t need abandoned blogs from years past or your Twitter account that you used a handful of times as a platform to complain about something fogging up your online image. Get rid of it- it feels good.
- Add a bio to each profile. It doesn’t have to be as professional as a branding statement, but make it something light, fun, and descriptive. Make sure your LinkedIn summary isn’t just repeating your job title but summarizes what you do and what do care about doing. This is much more compelling, and people are more likely to connect with you.
5. Update Your Profile Photos
Even if the old headshot is the best you’ve ever taken- take another.
We suggest that you have new professional photos taken every 18 months to 2 years. The simple act of updating your photo will notify your network and get them thinking about you. Profile image updates are prioritized on Facebook and LinkedIn and will reach more of your followers than a regular post. So if you’ve hit a milestone, are promoting something new, or want people to have a fresh take on who you are and what you’re up to, it is a simple, effective way to draw a crowd.
Next week I’m going to talk about LinkedIn as a self-marketing tool and how to put your profile to work growing your network and opening yourself up to more opportunities.
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